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What you can see on the right hand side are the masters for the shell produced from the CAD files, and those masters are currently being prepared so they can have moulds produced from them to produce the final shells. The top image shows the social listening module with the hardware API connection exposed.

The main image is what I’m working on, which is the electronics. A few days after I took the photo of this PCB, I shorted it out while I was removing some delay circuitry. That mistake cost about the same as flights for two across the Atlantic.

So I’m currently programming the microcontrollers for this thing. It’s a far cry from the sort of scripting I’m more comfortable doing but it’s still good fun. I’m not sure if it’s a terribly transferrable skill. If in some freak time travel accident I get sent back to 1986, I could probably get a job on the team writing the embedded software on washing machines, that’s about the size of it.

Anyway, as I said it’s not finished yet, but that doesn’t stop me talking about it, and after I do talks then I go onto Technorati and Google Blog Search and see whether anybody has made any comments.

Unfortunately the name we chose for the device – Olinda – also turns out to be a popular porn star name. The search results I get back don’t have very much to do with radios.

But anyway. Olinda. We chose the name because it’s a city in Italo Calvino’s book, Invisible Cities. This is Calvino’s book of short story sketches of fictional, fantastical cities.

I’m a big fan of fictional cities, so I thought I’d show a couple here.

[I were to pick a quote from the Olinda story, it would be the opening paragraph: “In Olinda, if you go out with a magnifying glass and hunt carefully, you may find somewhere a point no bigger than the head of a pin which, if you look at it slightly enlarged, reveals within itself the roofs, the antennas, the skylights, the gardens, the pools, the streamers across the streets, the kiosks in the squares, the horse-racing track. That point does not remain there: a year later you will find it the size of half a lemon, then as large as a mushroom, then a soup plate. And then it becomes a full-size city, enclosed within the earlier city: a new city that forces its way ahead in the earlier city and presses its way toward the outside.”

Fictional cities also came up in my talk on Iterative Architecture.]

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February 25, 2008

This presentation puts forward 'movement' as a metaphor for the Web, introduces the motivations flowchart design process, and demonstrates Snap, a way of syndicating interactions from websites to the desktop. It is called Movement and was originally delivered in February 2008 at Web Directions North 2008 in Vancouver.